A test of conservative strength and a table-setter for next year's Iowa caucuses, the Ames Straw Poll is taking place in the Hawkeye State on Saturday.
Six Republican candidates have actively campaigned in the event: U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain, U.S. Rep. Thad McCotter (R-Mich.), U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.).
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Utah governor Jon Huntsman and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney will also be on the ballot, however, the three GOP contenders have not aggressively sought to lock up support in the straw poll.
Ames Patch reports that write-in votes will be allowed for the first time at this year's event.
Texas Governor Rick Perry won't be on the ground in the Hawkeye State on Saturday; however, the Republican hopeful is still making waves with news of his intention to run for president. His name will not appear on the Iowa straw poll ballot.
We're following the latest developments to unfold in Iowa. Check out the live blog below.
08/14/2011 9:53 AM EDT
Tim Pawlenty Quits The Race
The former Gov. announced his departure on ABC's “This Week with Christiane Amanpour," which provided HuffPost with an early copy of the show's transcript. His official statement:
"I'm announcing this morning on your show that I'm going to be ending my campaign for president, but I'm very, very grateful for the people of Iowa, the people of this country, who I had a chance to make my case to, and for my supporters and staff and friends who've been so loyal and helpful. I really appreciate all of them.
I wish it would have been different. But, obviously, the pathway forward for me doesn't really exist. And so we're going to end the campaign."
08/13/2011 9:45 PM EDT
What Tomorrow Could Bring For Bachmann
By at least one measure, tomorrow could well be the highpoint of the Michele Bachmann campaign. She is scheduled to appear on all five Sunday morning talk shows: ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox and NBC. In the trade, that kind of sweep of overexposure is referred to as a "Full Ginsberg," so named because a previously obscure lawyer of that name -- who happened to be a family friend of Monica Lewinsky's and therefore her counsel -- appeared on them all back to back to back to back to back. By the time he was done he had permanently worn out his welcome and shown that he was in over his head.
Will Bachmann do the same? The other main precedent is more encouraging. . Barack Obama did it as president to sell his health care bill. It passed.
-- Howard Fineman
08/13/2011 8:25 PM EDT
Steve King Reacts
U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) weighed in on Bachmann's win on Saturday night. According to the Des Moines Register he said, "I think that it showed that the personality and the charisma and the candidacy of Michele Bachmann eclipsed the best of efforts to try to build an organization to try to get people to people to come to the straw poll."
Click here to read more.
08/13/2011 8:01 PM EDT
Bachmann Campaign Responds To Ames Results
The Bachmann campaign has released the following statement regarding the Ames Straw Poll results:
Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has issued the following statement after winning the 2011 Iowa Straw Poll:
"I want to thank the people of Iowa for this tremendous victory. Together we sent a message that we intend to make President Obama a one-term president. The Iowa Straw Poll was a important first step in what will be a long race for the presidency. Now we turn our attention toward winning the Iowa Caucuses and taking our message of reining in wasteful spending, keeping taxes low, growing our economy and creating jobs to the people of New Hampshire, South Carolina and all 50 states."
08/13/2011 7:33 PM EDT
Howard Fineman: Impressions On Ames Results
With the announcement of the Ames Straw Poll results, I drew the following conclusions:
- Bye-bye T-Paw
- Perry as a last-minute write-in bests a weak Mitt
- Combination of Bachmann and Paul strength will generate more questions about the wisdom of doing a straw poll at all
- Newt, with 385 votes, needs to drop out
- Santorum is in danger with a fourth place finish in a state where evangelicals matter so much
- Romney supporters argue that this will help Mitt by pitting Perry against Bachmann for the evangelical/Tea Party vote
- Ron Paul is about to become a MAJOR headache for the GOP
-- Howard Fineman
08/13/2011 7:20 PM EDT
|@ DavidChalian : Bachmann victory speech: "Now, it's on to all 50 states."|
08/13/2011 7:11 PM EDT
Paul Camp Reacts To Results
Paul Campaign chairman Jesse Benton issued the following statement after the straw poll results were announced:
“Dr. Paul is surging in this race, and today’s results show the strength of his grassroots support and top notch organization.
“These straw poll results, our growing poll numbers and our strong fundraising shows that our message is resonating with Iowans and Americans everywhere.
“Our message was the same in 2007 as it is in now in 2011, but this time we have quadrupled our support. That means our message is spreading, our support is surging, and people are taking notice.
“We are uniting a coalition of longtime supporters, fiscal conservatives, constitutional conservatives, independents, tea party and anti-big government activists to take on the Washington establishment.
“Today, Ron Paul has emerged as a top tier candidate and is a serious contender to win the Republican nomination and the Presidency.”
08/13/2011 7:02 PM EDT
Pawlenty Statement On Straw Poll Results
The Pawlenty campaign issued the following statement on the Ames Straw Poll Results:
Congratulations to Congresswoman Michele Bachmann for her victory in today's straw poll. We made progress in moving from the back of the pack into a competitive position for the caucuses, but we have a lot more work to do. This is a long process to restore America -- we are just beginning and I'm looking forward to a great campaign.
08/13/2011 6:42 PM EDT
Iowa Straw Poll Results
Michele Bachmann emerged the winner of the Iowa straw poll. More information to come.
08/13/2011 6:20 PM EDT
First Numbers Emerge, Pointing Toward Bachmann Landslide
The first numbers are bleeding out.
The number we know for sure is how many people voted: 17,000, according to the state party. That's the second highest amount of straw poll votes since they held the first one in 1979. The highest number of votes was in 1999, when George W. Bush and Steve Forbes duked it out -- Bush won -- and drew a total of 23,685 votes.
Here are the estimates of vote totals for each candidate:
Michele Bachmann appears to have blown the doors off this thing, with reports of at least 6,000 votes. Ron Paul aides tell me they passed out 4,700 or 4,800 tickets. And there are reports of more than 3,000 tickets passed out by Pawlenty.
Again, these are not official numbers, but if they are right, then Bachmann is the big winner today, and Pawlenty has some very hard questions to answer about whether his campaign has any future at all.
-- Jon Ward